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J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2012 Mar;18(2):260-8. doi: 10.1017/S1355617711001664. Epub 2012 Jan 23.

Level of recall, retrieval speed, and variability on the Cued-Recall Retrieval Speed Task (CRRST) in individuals with amnestic mild cognitive impairment.

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Department of Neurology and the Einstein Aging Study, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


Individuals with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) show deficits on traditional episodic memory tasks and reductions in speed of performance on reaction time tasks. We present results on a novel task, the Cued-Recall Retrieval Speed Task (CRRST), designed to simultaneously measure level and speed of retrieval. A total of 390 older adults (mean age, 80.2 years), learned 16 words based on corresponding categorical cues. In the retrieval phase, we measured accuracy (% correct) and retrieval speed/reaction time (RT; time from cue presentation to voice onset of a correct response) across 6 trials. Compared to healthy elderly adults (HEA, n = 303), those with aMCI (n = 87) exhibited poorer performance in retrieval speed (difference = -0.13; p < .0001) and accuracy on the first trial (difference = -0.19; p < .0001), and their rate of improvement in retrieval speed was slower over subsequent trials. Those with aMCI also had greater within-person variability in processing speed (variance ratio = 1.22; p = .0098) and greater between-person variability in accuracy (variance ratio = 2.08; p = .0001) relative to HEA. Results are discussed in relation to the possibility that computer-based measures of cued-learning and processing speed variability may facilitate early detection of dementia in at-risk older adults.

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